How to Fix a Smelly Sink

Sinks and running water in general are wonderful things. Hot or cold water whenever we want, straight from a tap conveniently located in our own home? It’s very nice. But sometimes the sink stinks.

If this is your kitchen sink, the stench is likely coming from rotting food stuck in the sink. The smell from the bathroom sink is likely caused by a build-up of bacteria, possibly mixed with hair, toothpaste, and anything else that gets in there.

Fortunately, you can usually handle this yourself without the help of a professional. Here are some ways to get rid of unpleasant odors from your sink.

Soak the sink

While it may sound odd, soaking where the water comes from is definitely worth a try. Here is the method from :

Insert a stopper into the sink drain and fill a basin halfway with hot water and one teaspoon of dish soap. Use a gloved hand to stir the contents of the bowl until the soap dissolves in the water, then let the solution sit in the bowl for 10 minutes to help dissolve any food debris. Remove the plug from the sink and turn on the chute (if your kitchen sink has one) to flush loose debris down the sink drain.

Considering it’s pretty straightforward and only requires what you probably already have at the sink (dish soap), this is a good place to start.

Clean the sink flange

If you are fortunate enough to have a chute, that means you also have something called a “sink flange,” which can also be a source of bad odor. To clean it, either unplug the trash chute from the outlet or disconnect the power from the switch box. Then apply some liquid dish soap to a brush with a handle or a dish brush, wet it, then stick it into the sink, wipe the top of the sink flange and pour cold water for 30 seconds.

DIY deodorant

You probably already have what it takes to make your own gutter deodorant right now, so there’s no excuse not to try it. You’ll need:

  • Two lemons
  • Salt
  • ¼ glass of baking soda
  • ¼ cups distilled white vinegar
  • Pot with boiling water

Here’s what to do next, according to seasoned Merry Maids cleaners:

1. Cut the lemons in half as if you were going to juice them. Sprinkle each half with salt.

2. Rub the bottom and sides of the sink with salted lemon.

3. Rinse the basin with warm water.

4. Pour the baking soda into the smelly sink.

5. Add vinegar. When baking soda and vinegar are mixed together, a chemical reaction will cause the solution to fizzle, so be prepared.

6. Bring water to a boil while waiting for the effervescent solution to settle.

7. Slowly drain the boiling water down the drain. The temperature can help kill leftover microorganisms that could be causing the odor coming from your sink.

Be careful when pouring hot water and do not put your face on the drain to check if it works – steam can rise and burn you.

Of course, there are many other drain deodorant recipes that usually involve a combination of the above ingredients, but this one includes all the essential ingredients, so it might be a good start.

If none of this works and you think the odor is caused by a more serious problem, you can have a professional plumber examine your sink, sink, or chute to see what’s going on. But if it’s just a light smell, you might as well see if you can handle it yourself.

This story was originally published in 2012 and has been updated on November 25, 2020 to provide more complete and up-to-date information.


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